Practicing Addition using Versa Tiles

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SWBAT practice addition using tools such as Versa Tiles.

Big Idea

Tools can be used to give the students more practice with a new concept..


5 minutes

In today's lesson, we review addition.  The students have learned to add using place value.  I find that the more practice that a student can get, the better chance of that student mastering the skill.

I let the students know that we will have a chance to practice on our addition.  Before we do that, I ask the students, "How would you describe addition?"  I let the students think about the question for a minute.  I encourage my students to always take a few minutes to think before they respond to a question.  I then take a few responses from the students.  A sample response that I am looking for is  "adding is when you put things together."  

After taking a few responses, I let the students know that today, they add using Versa Tiles.  I remind the students that they need to use the standard algorithm that we have learned in order to fluently add (4.NBT.B4).


Whole Class Discussion

10 minutes

Before we begin discussing addition as a whole class, I call my students to the carpet.  By bringing them closer to me, this gives me a feel for how well they are paying attention and it gives the class a feel of togetherness.  

On the carpet, we discuss what they have previously learned about adding.  I always like to begin my lesson by reviewing their previous skills.  By doing this, it ensures that all students are familiar with the skills needed in order to take them to the next step.  I share with them that learning is done in layers or steps.  Its like climbing stairs.  You can't easily get to the fifth step, if you have made it past steps 1 through 4.  

 I use a power point to review addition (Addition Review). 

—When you add whole numbers, you must line your numbers up according to place value.  Ones under ones, tens under tens, hundreds under hundreds, etc.

Begin adding in the ones place.  Remember that the largest digit that can go in a place is a 9.  If you have a two-digit number, you must regroup.

 Example:  73 + 9 = 82

3 + 9 = 12

The 2 goes in the ones place, and we regroup the 1.  7 + 1 = 8

I like for my students to interact with me as we have whole discussions.  They know to jump in with questions and answers without me asking them.  

Because this is the first time for my class this school year to use Versa Tiles, I show the following video of instructions from Versa Tiles.  From the video, the students get a very good understanding of how Versa Tiles work.


After the video, the students go back to their seats and wait for further instructions.

Group or Partner Activity

30 minutes

I give the students a chance to collaborate in groups of 3.  I find that collaborative learning is vital to the success of students.  Students learn from each other by justifying their answers and critiquing the reasoning of others (MP3).

I give each student in the group a Versa Tile activity sheet (Versa Tile handout) and an answer case (MP5).  The students must work together on the activity "Can She Do That?"   They must communicate precisely to others within their groups (MP6).  Their discussion must be focused on the math involved in the lesson (MP1). 

Once the students receive their material, they can go to work.  This is a picture of the Students using Versa Tiles.  As they are working, I am walking around listening in on their discussions.  For example, one question on the activity sheet is "I can add two 1-digit numbers and get 17."  As I listen in, I need to hear the students talking the problem through by using paper and pencil trying to work the problem or using the numbers on the Versa Tiles to help them solve the problem.

I interject with questions, as needed, to help lead the students' thinking toward the answer.  I do not give the answer, but use guiding questions to get the students thinking and using strategies.

Sample guiding questions:

1.  How do you plan to solve the problem?

2.  What question is being asked of you?

3.  Did you regroup?

4.  How does place value help you solve this problem?


10 minutes

To close the lesson, I bring the class back together as a whole.  We discuss the answers to the problem.  I let different groups take turns sharing their answers and the strategies they used to get the answer. This gives those students who still do not understand another opportunity to learn it.  I feel that by closing each of my lessons by having students share their work is very important to the success of the lesson because students have an opportunity to demonstrate strategies and to hear an "academic" discussion on the topic of the lesson.